Advising Appointment Update

In alignment with the campus directives regarding the precautions surrounding COVID-19, the Languages and Literatures academic advising offices are now physically closed.  Our Advisors remain available and will be offering academic advising appointments to students through zoom, phone call, or email.  Once you have scheduled your appointment in the online appointment system, your advisor will reach out to you via email with instructions on how to connect with them using zoom, phone call, or email. Resource FAQ for Students

HUM 001. Forum: Book Project (2 units)
CRN 52483 | Allison Coudert | T 7:40-9:30P | 106 Wellman Hall

Note: HUM 001 can be repeated one time for credit if topic differs.

Course Description: The Humanities Forum for the spring quarter (2015) will be devoted to Temple Grandin’s book, Thinking in Pictures: My Life with Autism. Besides being the inspiring story of a remarkable individual, Professor Grandin takes the reader into the world of neuroscience to show the complex ways in which brain science has helped us understand not only human but also animal behavior. Professor Grandin’s book raises important issues that will be covered in the forum, such as the way disabilities like autism have been defined and who defines them. Could one say, for example, that so-called “able-bodied” people reveal a disability every time they get in a car, train, or plane and acquire the speed they physically lack? We will also look at the paradox of Grandin’s own work as an animal lover who designs handling facilities and slaughter houses that confine and kill billions of animals each year. Grandin’s work must be seen in the context of a relatively recent trend in scholarship known as Posthumanism, which aims to think beyond the human and devise a philosophy based on a continuum between the biological and the technological, the human and the non-human.

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): Arts & Humanities.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities.

Format: Lecture - 2 hours


  • TBA

About the Instructor: Allison Coudert is a Professor of Religious Studies.

HUM 001. Forum: Experiencing the Performing Arts (2 units)
CRN 52484 | Don Roth | W 4:10-6:00P | 3 Kleiber Hall

Note: HUM 001 can be repeated one time for credit if topic differs.

Course Description: Behind this course is a belief that a life without the arts is incomplete,  missing one of our richest sources of enjoyment, and for interpreting and understanding our world  As the 19th century philosopher Nietzsche put it a "life without music would be a joke." Or as the great artist and UC Davis Professor Wayne Thiebaud once said "Without art, we're just a bunch of monkeys with car keys." This two-unit Humanities course aims to save us from such fates; students will leave the course ready to enjoy a wider range of arts experiences than when they entered, and the arts will provide lifelong enrichment in their lives.

The course consists of seven class meetings which combine slide lectures with some discussion of the readings and of performances experienced.  Reading assignments include chapters from an anthology "Engaging Art" as well as from recent audience studies and articles. Attendance is required at three performances at the Mondavi Center, including, when available, post-performance discussions with the artists.  We believe that much of the learning will occur by students drawing upon their personal encounters with the arts.

The course has three segments. In the first, we examine the role of audience members in relation to the art they experience. How has this changed over time and is it still changing? How has technology from electric lights to mobile devices changed this? Why do audience members attend the arts and what value do they take away?  The second segment focuses on "The Engaged Experience," in particular, on how students can develop proficiency in preparing to experience performances. We also examine the impact of different formats of arts presentation on the audience experience as well as the use of digital (and other) media in the presentation of the arts. The third segment covers several key topics including the impact of distractions on the arts experience, openness to the new and unusual in the arts, and writing and communicating about arts experiences.

The following rubric will decide students’ final grades:

Assignment % of Final Grade
One short paper 10%
Three 500-word papers (blog posts) 60%
One 1,000-2,000-word essay (in lieu of a final exam) (Note: The essay is based on concepts from the entire course) 30%
Extra Credit Opportunity:
Create your own 4'33" (John Cage's "silent piece") using the 4'33" app and writing a 100-200-word essay on your experience
up to an additional 10%

Mondavi Center Performances:

  • Quixotic (Cirque) Performance – Mondavi Center 3pm Sunday 4/12/15 (Jackson Hall)  A contemporary "cirque" company from Kansas City in their first performance at the Mondavi Center.
  • Academy of St. Martins Chamber Ensemble  8pm Friday  5/8/15  (Jackson Hall). A classical music octet, eight players drawn from one of the most famous chamber orchestras in the world, London's Academy of St. Martin's in the Field.  They will perform works from 19th and 20th century composers.
  • Schubert Songs, performed by bass-baritone Philipe Sly, 8pm Friday 5/15/15 (Vanderhoef Studio Theatre). This young singer has arranged songs by Franz Schubert, usually for voice and piano, for voice and guitar.  This performance takes place in the small Studio Theatre, in a cabaret setting with small nightclub tables instead of regular seating.

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): Arts & Humanities.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities.

Format: Lecture - 2 hours


  • All readings will be available on SmartSite or another platform

About the Instructor: Don Roth is the Executive Director of University Cultural Programs at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center.

HUM 002A. "Crime Without Punishment: Dostoevsky and Woody Allen" (4 units)
CRN 37652 | Olga Stuchebrukhov | TR 1:40-3:00P | 202 Wellman Hall

Note: HUM 2A can be repeated one time for credit if topic differs.

Course Description: This course examines Dostoevsky’s seminal novel Crime and Punishment in conjunction with Woody Allen’s films, paying particular attention to the transformation of the “crime-and-punishment” idea into the concept of “crime-without-any-punishment-at-all.”

Required Books

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment

Jean Baptist Racine, Iphigenia; Phaedra; Athaliah

Required Films

Woody Allen, Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)

Woody Allen, Match Point (2005)

Woody Allen, Cassandra’s Dream (2007)

Course Policies and Requirements

Essays and Exams

Essay (5 pages): detailed essay requirements and topics will be provided. You will be given the opportunity to work on your first draft and resubmit your improved essay.

Your in-class midterm #1 will test your understanding and knowledge of Dostoevsky’s novel Crime and Punishment. It will consist of two sections: multiple-choice questions (50%) and two free-response questions (25% each). Detailed instructions will be provided.

Your in-class midterm #2 will test your understanding and knowledge of Woody Allen’s films. It will consist of two sections: multiple-choice questions (50%) and two free-response questions (25% each). Detailed instructions will be provided.

Your take-home final essay will be a comparative analysis of the texts and films covered by the course.

Evaluation Policy

Assignment % of Final Grade
One take-home essay (5 pages) 25% 
Two in-class midterms 20% each
Final comparative essay (5 pages) 25%
Participation (quizzes, etc.) 10%

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): Arts & Humanities.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities, World Cultures, and Writing Experience.

Format: Lecture - 3 hours; Extensive Writing.


  • Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky  (Vintage Classics, 1993)
  • Jean Racine, Iphigenia; Phaedra; Athaliah, translated by John Cairncross  (Penguin Classics, 1964) 

About the Instructor: Olga Stuchebrukhov is a Professor of Russian.

HUM 013. Witches: Myth and Historical Reality (4 units)
CRN 37654 | Elisabeth Krimmer | TR 10:30-11:50A | 1001 Geidt Hall

Course Description: This course focuses on four aspects of witches/witchcraft in order to examine the historical construction of the witch in the context of the social realities of the women and men labeled as witches. The four areas covered are: European pagan religions and the spread of Christianity; the “Burning Times” in early modern Europe, with an emphasis on the German situation; 17th-century New England and the Salem witch trials; and fairytales. The goal of the course is to sensitize students to the ways in which our perception of reality is a product of social construction.

Readings are drawn from documentary records of the witch persecutions and witch trials, literary representation, scholarly analyses of witch-related phenomena, and essays examining witches, witchcraft, and the witch persecutions from a contemporary feminist perspective. The lectures will be supplemented by visual material (movie clips, slides) drawn from art history, early modern witch literature, popular culture, and documentary sources.

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): Arts & Humanities, Diversity, and Writing Experience.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities, World Cultures, and Writing Experience.

Format: Lecture - 3 hours; Extensive Writing.


  • TBA

About the Instructor: Elisabeth Krimmer is a Professor of German.

HUM 015. Language and Identity (4 units)
CRN 52485 | Eric Russell | TR 12:10-1:30P | 216 Wellman Hall

Course Description: This course is designed to introduce you to basic principles of social science inquiry, data analysis, and writing through the exploration of taboo language, including insults, profanity, vulgarity, and expletives. Our discussions will center on a series of questions, including:
1.    What makes “bad language” bad? What sets a “bad word” apart from a neutral word meaning the exact same thing?
2.    Why do we say some words are inappropriate, whereas others are perfectly fine? Why is it acceptable to refer to “genitals” at a doctor’s office, but not use a more colorful or colloquial term? Why can a person be vilified for using one term for a particular ethnicity, whereas other terms are considered okay?
3.    Why is speech censored? Why do we bleep out words on television and the radio and is this effective?
4.    What can we learn about our values, expectations, fears and history by looking more closely at taboo language?
5.    How does looking at racial slurs or outdated language about race help us understand ethnic relations and tensions in our society?
6.    How does investigating words considered to be pejorative about a person’s sexual orientation enrich our views of sexuality and gender norms?
7.    What do taboo words that refer to women by way of their genitalia tell us about our expectations of women?

Objectives and goals
Throughout the quarter, you will meet the following objectives:
1.    Linguistic knowledge: you will learn to describe language using appropriate terminology and effectively present linguistic data.
2.    Analytical skills: you will describe data using appropriate terms and approaches; you will develop and test hypotheses about language use and linguistic behavior.
3.    Intellectual posture: you will adopt and apply objectivity with regard to language forms, opinions about language, and the description and analysis of linguistic behavior.

Furthermore, you are expected to hone your writing skills, focusing on form, rhetoric and style appropriate for the human and social sciences. You will apply themes from class lectures and readings to a question of personal interest in a final project and paper, demonstrating an ability to form coherent ideas and express these ideas effectively and appropriately.

Prerequisite: None.

GE credit (Old): Arts & Humanities or Social Science, Diversity and Writing Experience.
GE credit (New): Arts & Humanities or Social Science and Writing Experience.

Format: Lecture/Discussion - 3 hours; Extensive Writing.


  • A Course Reader

About the Instructor: Eric Russell is a Professor of French.